Tag

europe Archives - LINX

ECJ to rule on whether Facebook must actively seek out hate speech

By | Content Issues, News

The Austrian Supreme Court has asked the European Court of Justice to rule on whether Facebook should actively search for hate speech posted by users.  The original lawsuit against Facebook was filed by Eva Glawischnig, the former leader of the Austrian Green Party, in 2016, after Facebook refused to take down what she claimed were defamatory postings about her.

Last year, an Austrian appeals court ruled in favour of Glawischnig, ordering Facebook to remove the hate speech postings – both the original posts and any verbatim repostings of the same comments – not just in Austria but worldwide. The Austrian Supreme Court has asked the ECJ to look at two issues: 1. Whether Facebook needs to actively look for similar posts, instead of just reposts, and 2. Whether such content needs to be removed globally.

The case comes amidst concerted pressure in Europe for social media platforms to do more to tackle hate speech. A new hate speech law in Germany, known as the network enforcement act, requires companies to remove or block criminal content within 24 hours, or seven days for complex cases, of it being reported. The law has already attracted controversy, despite only being actively enforced since 1 January 2018, after Twitter deleted a post by the German justice minister, Heiko Maas, dating back to 2010 before he was appointed to the role, calling a fellow politician “an idiot”. Twitter has also deleted anti-Muslim and anti-migrant posts by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and blocked a satirical magazine’s account after it parodied the AfD’s anti-Muslim comments. The German Government has said that an evaluation will be carried out within six months to examine how well the new law is working.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has kept up the pressure on tech companies calling for them “to step up and speed up their efforts to tackle these threats quickly and comprehensively” and reiterating that it would “if necessary, propose legislation to complement the existing regulatory framework.”

EU to spend €120m to extend free Wifi across Union

By | EU Legislation, Europe, News
The EU has announced it will spend €120 million to extend Wifi across 6,000 to 8,000 municipalities, bringing Wifi to “every European village and every city” with free Wifi by 2020. 

The scheme, dubbed WiFi4EU, is described by the European Commission as having the aim to “increase accessibility to high-performance mobile internet, and to raise awareness of the benefits of such connectivity.”

The action falls under the framework of the digital single market and the desire to make customers’ experience across the EU the same.

You can find more information about the initiative here.

EU to impose national quotas on streaming services

By | EU Legislation, Europe, News
The EU is to impose national quotas on streaming services.

The EU is currently considering imposing a quota on streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, to feature a minimum quantity of European works in their catalogues. The European Parliament has proposed a requirement of 30%, an increase on the European Commission’s proposal of 20%. The quota will be implemented as an amendment to the Audiovisual Media Services directive, which will likely be extended to include social media and any streaming on-demand service.

Colin Bortner, director of public policy for Netflix, argues that the quotas will result in lower quality work. One unnamed diplomat who opposed the measure said that there is a risk the directive will drift away from its original purpose and will move to policing “any moving picture on any screen”.

The quota is currently going through the ordinary legislative procedure, in which the Council of Ministers will also decide its own view, prior to the final outcome being negotiated between the three institutions in a process known as “trialogue”.